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Facing intense competition from cash-rich Reliance Jio, the Aditya Birla Group and British telecom giant Vodafone Plc on Monday announced the merger of their Indian wireless telephony businesses, creating the largest telecom operator in the country.

In a news conference in Mumbai, Vodafone Group Plc Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vittorio Colao and Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said the merger would create a new champion of digital India. It would launch new services soon.

Idea Cellular is going all out to take on Reliance Jio and its data offers. Idea has associated with itel, a smartphone brand, to give Indian users 1GB of free data every month for six months. The offer is valid on specific variants of smartphones by itel only. The deal is valid from today and is currently available on the following models under Wish series: it1409, it1407, it1508, it1508+ and Power Pro series it1516+.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as a clear favourite for the 2019 general elections after the BJP's landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, top US experts on India have said.

While one of the expert noted that the electoral results of the just concluded Assembly polls in five states show that the 2014 Lok Sabha election results were not an aberration, another noted that Modi would continue to lead India after 2019.

MUMBAI: Idea Cellular subscribers are set to get lower bills after the company, India’s No. 3 telecom operator, said it won’t be charging for incoming calls on domestic roaming from April 1, a bid to retain customers amid a price war launched by Reliance Jio Infocomm.

“Effective April 1, 2017, Idea’s 200 million customers will enjoy free incoming calls while roaming on company’s 2G, 3G and 4G network across 400,000 towns and villages in the country. Idea customers will be able to make outgoing calls, SMS freely at affordable rates while roaming anywhere in India,” the company said in a statement on Sunday.

While telecom companies are renewing the battle lines in the war against call harassment by ensuring safety for female customers for retail recharge transactions, Idea is ready with an all India roll out of its ‘private recharge’ service. Private recharge allows telco customers to recharge their prepaid connection at retailer without sharing their number. In an age of continually evolving technology privacy is highly important, and especially with so many new offers after Reliance Jio came to the bangwagon, it is crucial that security is also an area which must be looked after.

In the tariff war between Reliance Jio Prime, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, users have found themselves in a fix among the confusing plans on offer. Ever since Reliance Jio announced its plans in India, there has been an interesting tariff war among telecom companies, where many of the rivals like Airtel and Vodafone have accused it of disrupting the market. While Jio offered its calling and data services for free earlier, both the ‘Welcome Offer’ and ‘Happy New Year’ have now ended. This means, now consumers of Jio network will have to pay for the data services in order to avail the offers. However, the calling will remain free forever, according to Reliance Jio.

KOLKATA: Airtel, Vodafone and Idea are likely to bear the brunt of a potential 16-17 per cent fall in telecom industry revenues in FY18 if newcomer Reliance Jio’s Rs. 303 per month ‘Prime’ offer finds maximum traction from next month, analysts and sector experts said.

The price-value equation of Jio Prime offer of 28 GB data at 4G speeds with unlimited voice calls to any network is the best in the market, and incumbent carriers would do well to closely match it, they said. Brokerage Kotak Institutional Equities even warned that it would be "foolhardy for incumbents to assume they can command material pricing premium in the marketplace versus Jio".

Idea Cellular dips 7% after huge block deal
Posted on 28th February 2017
Idea Cellular has dipped 7% to Rs 107 on the BSE after more than 3% of total equity of telecom services provider changed hands with block deal.

At 09:15 am, around 123.8 million shares representing 3.4% of total equity of Idea Cellular changed hands on the BSE, the exchange data showed.

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular will likely sell 15-20% equity stake to private equity firms in the combined entity after the proposed merger of the two companies, in order to deleverage the balance sheet and raise much-needed cash for running operations in a hypercompetitive environment, CNBC TV18 reported citing unidentified sources.

Both the companies may end up owning 51% stake in the merged company, just enough to retain majority control, CNBC TV18 said. The combined entity will have an overall debt of over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Telecom shares in focus; Bharti, Idea up 2%
Posted on 20th February 2017
Shares of telecom service providers were in focus with all frontline stocks like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications (RCom), MTNL and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) up between 2% and 8% on the BSE.

At 10:40 am; the S&P BSE Telecom index, the largest gainer among sectoral indices, was up 1.85% as compared to 0.15% rise in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex.

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